Offset Printing

What is offset printing and how does it apply to my projects?


First of all, there has to be some discussion on the materials and processes associated with the offset printing process.  The first step in the process is to create a plate (known as computer to plate) of the customer document.  For every unique side of a sheet of paper, a separate plate has to be made for this process.  In the very basic form, offset printing uses a ink that is transferred throughout a series of rollers, then to a plate cylinder which includes either a polyester or metal plate that accepts the ink only to a positive image, which transfers that image to a blanket cylinder, and finally transfers the image to the substrate.  Lastly, this process requires a certain amount of drying time to ensure quality results before the project is completed.


How does color work using offset printing?


The universal language to determine color is referred to as the Pantone Matching System.  In this system, thousands of colors have numbers assigned to them in order to differentiate among each of them.  The Pantone chart shows each color as a solid patch (referred to many times as a spot color) and the CMYK (dot pattern of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) mix of the color.  The press can print either a solid color patch (requires one plate) or a CMYK (requires four plates) dot pattern of the specific color chosen.


What is the best use of offset printing for my projects?


Typically, projects that require high volumes of the same pages would be most cost effective using the offset process.  For example, a single sheet with black text/images and a run length of 10,000 or more would be a good choice.  Every project is different in many ways so it is suggested to speak with your Paragon Printing & Graphics representative for the best possible solution.